Cover image for Look to the hills : the diary of Lozette Moreau, a French slave girl
Look to the hills : the diary of Lozette Moreau, a French slave girl
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic, 2004.
Physical Description:
188 p. : ill., maps ; 20 cm.
Reading Level:
670 L Lexile
Brought up in France as the African slave companion of a nobleman's daughter, thirteen-year-old Zettie records the events of 1763, when she and her mistress escape to the New World where they are inadvertently drawn into the hostilities of the ongoing French and Indian War and, eventually, find a new direction to their lives.


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In acclaimed author Patricia McKissack's latest addition to the Dear America line, Lozette, a French slave, whose masters uproot her and bring her to America, must find her place in the New World.

Arriving with her French masters in upstate New York at the tail end of the French-Indian War, Lozette, "Zettie," an orphaned slave girl, is confronted with new landscapes, new conditions, and new conflicts. As her masters are torn between their own nationality and their somewhat reluctant new allegiance to the British colonial government, Zettie, too, must reconsider her own loyalties.

Author Notes

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Zettie, 12, is a companion to the daughter of a once-wealthy Frenchman. An African slave, she was purchased as a gift for Marie-Louise and although well treated, she longs to be free. After Marie-Louise's father dies, her older brother threatens to sell the slaves and marry off his sister to an older, unattractive, but wealthy man to keep himself out of debtor's prison. Marie-Louise convinces her fianc? to purchase Zettie as her wedding gift, and the two girls, with the help of a friend, flee to Spain, and then to America. They sail to a British-controlled fort in the area that would later become New York State. The rest of the book describes life at the fort, the effects of the French and Indian War on the relations with the Native Americans, and Marie-Louise's search for her younger brother, who had been captured by the Delaware Indians. The diary is a straightforward account with very little emotion. Zettie simply records the events of the day with few comments as to her thoughts and feelings, and her character is never fully developed. The other figures are even more shadowy. The quality of the black-and-white period maps, portraits, landscapes, etc., is poor. It is unfortunate that a book written about this time period, on which there is little fiction available for this age, is not up to the author's usual standard.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Set in 1763, this story is based on the true life of an African slave educated as a ""companion"" for a French girl. Traveling to America during the aftermath of the French and Indian War, they confront danger and uncertainty. Some of the internal dialogue seems too sophisticated, but this is an interesting look at a little-known aspect of French slavery in colonial times. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-9. Her mother died giving birth to her on a slave ship to France, and Lozette (Zettie ) grew up in France as companion and slave to upper-class Mary-Louise. Now at 12 she finds herself with her French mistress in New York Colony at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. Like other books in the Dear America series, this story is told as a fictionalized diary, and as usual, the blend of fact and fiction, which includes a contrived epilogue, is confusing, especially as most middle-graders won't know much about this early colonial history. But McKissack does provide an immediate view of the period (including the horrifying decision to give the Indians blankets infected with smallpox), and the personal story brings a fresh perspective to issues of race and class. Compared with some of the poor white servants, Zettie is privileged. She can't do any household chores, but she can read, and she helps the soldiers write home. Her struggle to give up comfort and protection and find true independence is the most moving part of a story seldom told. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist